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tv   Meet the Presss Press Pass  NBC  March 18, 2012 11:30am-11:45am EDT

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i'm david gregory and this is "press pass," your all access pass as to what's happening in washington. actor george clooney and person pendergrass just back after a trip to sudan and testified before congress about the campaign of murder they saw in the region. george, let me start west you. what is it you saw you want the rest of the world to see and pay attention to. >> we went up to the mountains that is one of the areas still not settled after the north-south became the newest credit in the world. there is some rebel fighting
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obviously. we went up a road that was pretty rough. they go back and forth. there was a lot of dead bodies on the road. the north had it for a while and the rebels took it back, that kind of stuff. as we got further up into the mountains, we see burned out village, burned farms. the people have had to move into caves because everyday they are indiscriminately bombed. we were there as those chinese 200 and 300 millimeter rockets came over. we saw three of them hit. we got a good idea of what the move is. it is to hurt them if you can, not that accurate, terrify them and starve them to death. >> is the ethnic cleansing, no
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question about it. >> there is no one that would dispute that except the government of sudan. >> what's at stake now? what are we looking at in terms of the biggest picture you'd like to see governments around the world in the worst case address? >> the general scenario is the inside of sudan heats up and the world resumes in north sudan and south sudan. remember, they had a referendum two months ago, the southern sudanese voted 99% for independence and it became the newe newest nation in the world and back at each other's throats again. if that war resume, it will be the largest war on the face of the earth. the stakes are high in terms of human life. we think unless there is a crisis diplomacy interjected
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now, the worst case scenario comes to pass. >> i want to say what we're really looking for talking about the united states needs to do what we do well in diplomacy. it that means getting china involve. i know everyone laughs when you say that because china doesn't ever want to get involved. this time, because oil is a big player here and china has a $20 begin infrastructure built in for oil. they take 6% of their oil from the sudan, their import. south sudan turned off the oil in fight with the north, they pump all their oil to the north and the north was keeping the money basically. they shut it off. that investment to china is no longer good, not getting any money. they're going out on the rest of the market like everyone to try and get that 6% made up. it's costing them more money and costing us more money at the pump. we have a unique moment, where
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if we got involved from the presidential level, we're meeting with the president, to talk with president hu, for that matter and say, listen, we're not appealing to anyone's better angel, not looking for humanitarian causes. i've done that before. it doesn't work. this is economically important for you and helpful. we can work together and it would be beneficial for both of us to make sure we orchestrate for peace. >> has in some way this video changed the paradigm in terms of social action, diplomatic action, that a force for social justice can come and arise a little bit more organically than going through different channels? do you see a change? >> we saw it during the darfur crisis, the height of the darfur crisis, there was an explosion across america partly driven by
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social media in its earlier forms. now that there's this kind of communication has taken a quantum leap, the young people who put together the kony 2012 video tapped into a vein of interest of concern and compassion i think most people didn't know existed. we've seen that a lot, you go to campuses and synagogues and churches around the country, people care about these things, just don't know about them. if you tell them c this is what's going on and what you can do to make a little bit of difference there, most people respond to that. >> george, if bono is able to put disease on the continent of africa and prifevention of aidsn the map in ways the largest economies of the world presented this and he lauded president bush above other countries for launching this effort. why is it so important to do the same for the slaughter of
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innocent people? >> it depends how you handle it. we're talking about military intervention through nato or unilaterally, depends. the truth is we're not going to do that. nato won't do that now. the security council will always have someone to do that. the united states won't do that. it will be hard to create a coalition to put a no-fly zone around the nuva mountains. that's not going to happen. it's more difficult because it requires this massaging of other elements. those other elements are often-times hard to find the trigger to. for us, we feel as if there is a moment where there is an actual economic trigger that china, who in general, is not involved in this, basically say, listen, we don't get involved, that's their thing. they're upset, they're mad at the south and mad at the north. that's good, in a way, may give
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us an opportunity. it's hard to get things done. whenever you're talking about violence on people, it's a very hard thing to get done. >> you've talked about if you're going to be famous, you might as well have people following you around and covering things like a newsman effectively, what you've been doing, covering something this important. why is an issue like this so remote, so complex and so difficult to shine a spotlight on it, how is this something that is just your thing? >> it started with darfur, started read iing nicklas christophe's articles. like you just said, it is difficult and hard to shine a spotlight on it. i don't need to go to places that already have a spotlight on them, i need to go to places that don't. one thing i lerned over the years, started by working with bono years and years ago, i wanted to pick a subject and i wanted to not just work on it, i needed to be -- i needed to understand all of the elements
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so i didn't get tripped up on the mistakes that come by. when you first get involved in any form of activism or advocacy at all, you will make mistake, you always will. you won't have seen the land mines in the road coming. i needed -- i have rebel leaders on my phone, you know, their phone numbers. i needed to know the players personally so i was able to understand. >> we will take a quick break here and be back with more of our "press pass" conversation with george clooney and john present prendergrass. towers, and generators. creating over seventeen hundred jobs. then suppliers, stores, more companies followed, creating more jobs. economists call that the ripple effect. i call it the freight rail effect. freight rail connects every corner of america, bringing jobs and
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and we're back as we continue our weekly "press pass" conversation with george clooney and john prernd grass. >> it is "meet the press." i have to ask you. do you ever look at something like this and think if i ran for public office i could have more impact on this than george clooney the actor? >> i have a lot more influence here. no super pac has given me money. there is no outside influence for me. i can actually have an opinion. it may not fit what the u.n. wants and it may not fit what other people want, i can say this is what i think is right and stand by it. i don't have to check in to make sure along the way. i don't have to compromise, in that sense. so i think it's a lot easier than running for office. i don't have any interest in that. >> what about the guy who does have interest in being re-elected. there are some who believe that
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he's now heading into calmer waters for re-election and that he looks pretty good. do you see that as a danger sign. do you think president obama looks good to be re-elected? >> i think he's always looked good to be re-elected, even before the field, as we're still looking to find out what the field is, because i happen to believe that democrats are just very poor in general at explaining what it is when they accomplish something, i think they're pretty bad at it. republicans are very good at it. i'm an old democrat but i grew up around a lot of republicans. you know, if i was a republican and if obama was a republican, i would be selling all of th this -- you know, you saved the auto industry and got osama bin laden and you passed a health care bill nobody could pass, if that was a republican issue, i would be able to sell his presidency as a very successful one. democrats are bad at that. we like to pick each other apart. that's our thing, you know.
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i think it's going to be an interesting time, you know. the worst thing you could do is feel in any way safe or cocky about it because you will always lose. >> your friend, matt damon, has been critical of the president saying he's disappointed. do you share disappointment? >> not in the least. matt and i are really dear friends. that's what makes the world go around, we will disagree on things. matt's issues and a lot were about teaching and education. it's a very important part for him. i on the other hand, the issues that i believe, and the president that i voted for, i'm very proud of. >> i will ask you one artistic question because i will kick myself if i don't. >> go. >> where would you like to stretch next? where would you like to challenge yourself as an actor next? >> i'm thinking dance, david. i'm thinking of a musical. i know, you know, maybe combining what we're doing here, sort of

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